Summer highlights – 2009

October 1, 2009 at 10:11 am (Stuff that's on my mind) (, , , )

More highlights of this past summer…

After breakfast one beautiful sunny Sunday morning, Malcolm and I decided to take advantage of the great weather, shine up our motorcycles, and go for a ride.  Can you believe it was August before we finally got around to taking our first ride?  Of course, since June and July were both so miserable and wet, the official arrival of summer in Eastern Canada was pushed back until August, leaving a very short time span to fit in all the summer fun.  Anyway, that Sunday, we rode through the Kingston Peninsula, Hampton, Norton and Sussex, and arrived, 100km later, at Roland and Tracy’s trailer just above Sussex.  Malcolm’s mother and her new boyfriend were also there, so we enjoyed a visit with everyone for an hour or so before deciding it was time to hit the road again and head back to the beach for a barbecue.

Sadly, while Malcolm had his kayak out on the river twice this summer, I didn’t have mine out even once.  However, I did have the opportunity to enjoy the water on two occasions, albeit in two very different extremes…

My sister Cathy and I had been talking for a few years about going whitewater rafting, and since we both found ourselves in a situation where we had the time and resources, this turned out to be the year to do it.  So we chose a date, made the reservations, and tried to quiet our nerves.  Okay, I tried to quiet my nerves!  When the time came, I picked her up at her home in Fredericton, and six hours later, we arrived at Crab Apple Whitewater Rafting, located at The Forks in the heart of Maine.  The next morning, we met with the rest of the group for our safety instruction.  After being told about all the things that could happen to us on the water, and learning what to do in various situations, I was even morenervous.  Our guide noticed that we were the only two wearing only a swimsuit and shorts, expressed concern that we might get cold, and recommended renting a wetsuit.  While Cathy opted to take her chances dressed as she was, knowing how easily I get cold, I decided to rent a jacket.  Then after being fitted with our PFDs, we were loaded into the bus, and after a short 20-minute ride, arrived at the base of the Harris Station Dam, where we entered the Kennebec River. 

Then the fun began!  Rapids everywhere!  And waterfalls!  We hit them head-on, sideways, and backwards.  There was laughter and shouting and lots of screaming.  Okay, I admit, I was the only one screaming.  We were soaked within seconds, but fortunately, the water was very, very warm.  After two hours of non-stop excitement, we paddled to the edge of the rushing, thundering river to climb ashore and take a break.  When we were sufficiently rested, we pushed back into the current, and after a couple more series of smaller rapids, sat back and let the raft drift back to the lodge, where we relaxed in the pool and hot tub before enjoying a delicious barbecue meal.  After eating, we watched the video coverage of our trip and viewed the many pictures that were taken, bought a copy of the DVD, and then, after many heartfelt thank-yous and promises to return, we headed out for the six-hour drive back to Canada.  All in all, a most excellent trip!

A couple weeks later, we got together again for another water adventure – we went tubing on the Nashwaak River, just 15 minutes from Cathy’s home.  This trip couldn’t have been more different from our whitewater rafting trip.  We rented inner tubes, were driven upriver, and then entered the water and floated back to where we began.  It was a three-hour float, and very, very relaxing.  We plan to do it again next summer, but we’ll go earlier in the season so the water will be deeper.

I recently watched a show on HGTV about buying a vacation home Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.  Although we’ve never been to Punta Cana, we have vacationed in Puerto Plata, and saw enough to want to return to the D.R. some day.  So on the show, they were saying you could get a 2 bed /2 bath condo in Punta Cana for 140K+, and a 1 bed/1 bath on the beach for 160K+.  Judging by the properties they showed in the episode, Punta Cana could be a great place to live in the winter and rent out when we’re back home in Canada.  Definitely something worth thinking about.  But I’d have to get a job to finance that.  LOL

Speaking of which, I said right up front that I wanted to take this summer off, and I have.  And I used that time to research what type of work I might like to do for the next 10 years or so, until I really retire, and whether I’m qualified now or need further training.  I’ve decided that I’m finished working in IT; I’ve done the projects, deadlines, overtime and on-call.  Now, I’d like to take advantage of the office skills I’ve accumulated over the years, and land a job as a receptionist / office administrator / administrative assistant.  I’ve written my resume and have begun applying for these types of jobs as they surface.  I haven’t heard back from any of them yet, but it’s still early days.  Also, I’m very fortunate that I have the luxury of being able to apply for only the jobs I’m interested in, instead of applying for many and accepting the first offer I get.  Even so, I’m crossing my fingers that my dream job is just around the corner.

And on that note, it’s time for my daily perusal of the online job sites.


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Desperately Seeking Thelma

May 18, 2009 at 6:30 pm (Stuff that's on my mind) (, , , , )

How is it that after being handed my retirement package 3 1/2 months ago, or 15 weeks ago to be exact, I still feel so lost?  By now, I figured I’d have landed on my feet and fully be taking advantage of this new-found time to do all those things that I’ve been putting off for too long.  You know, important stuff, like cleaning out the linen closet or attacking the years and years of accumulated junk treasures that have taken over our basement.  Instead, I spend most days exactly like I am right now … sitting on the sofa in my pajamas, wrapped up in a blanket, with my computer on my lap.

How the hell did this happen?  I have zero motivation, zero direction, zero interest.  I used to have a job that mattered, that I was proud of, and that I was very good at.  I used to have a reason to get up in the morning, and a program for the day.  And now?  Now all of that is gone.  And I know it’s only the external portion that was taken away, but it seems to have taken a huge part of ME with it.  Malcolm sees what’s happening and tries to help, God knows he tries, but he can’t fix me.  So let’s add a serving of guilt to the mixture.  And it’s killing me because I know he deserves better – a better wife, a better partner – instead of this organism that’s stuck in neutral, slowly fusing with the leather sofa.

I don’t want to be like this, honestly, I don’t!  I used to have focus, plans, goals … a freakin’ life for Pete’s sake!  Now, with very few exceptions, it doesn’t matter if I even get dressed in the morning.  But as much as I want to move forward, I’m held back by one teeny tiny detail … I.don’  I don’t know how to move beyond this apathy and indifference.  I don’t know how to put myself in ‘First Gear’, let alone ‘Drive’ again.  And perhaps most troublesome of all, I don’t know how to be happy again.

But as much as my ability to motivate myself has been shattered, I still know one thing … awareness of a problem is the first step to overcoming it.  So now I just have to figure out how to move forward.  Maybe I’ll start by putting a Want Ad in the newspaper.  It could read something like this:

WANTED:  A life, with direction and meaning.  Must come with motivation.  Willing to work hard to get it, but need guidance on setting goals, and how to get started.  Will trade lethargy, disinterest, and a couple pairs of well-worn pajamas.

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Rude awakening

April 22, 2009 at 2:21 pm (Stuff that's on my mind) (, )

I didn’t get to sleep until 5 a.m.  Then the phone rings at 8.  Eight o’clock!!!  Who calls anybody at 8:00 in the freakin’ morning?!?!  Especially a retired person?  People, pay attention!  This is important!  In THIS house, life doesn’t begin until at least 9 a.m.  I’m going to be a zombie all day.

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I’m never too old to learn

March 30, 2009 at 6:24 am (Stuff that's on my mind) (, , , )

So … due to company cutbacks, I’ve been officially retired for almost two months now, and I have to say, I’ve learned some things about myself I may never have stumbled upon had I still been working.

Back in the earliest days of this life-changing event, I never would have said something positive could come out of the darkest moments of my life.  If it’s really true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, I should be the world’s strongest living woman at this point.  After surviving the numbing shock, the disbelief, the incredible pain, the disillusionment, the anger, and all the tears, I am beginning to discover an inner strength I long suspected was there, but had never actually been tested.

I am learning that although I have many options available to me for future employment, I am fortunate that I don’t have to settle for the first opportunity that comes my way.  I am learning that I’m willing to sacrifice a higher income for a more balanced work/home life.  And while it is absolutely terrifying to take those first few steps to venture outside my comfort zone, I am learning the subsequent ones are much easier.

And on a related note, it has been proven to me yet again that my wonderful, adoring husband is infinitely patient, incredibly understanding … and a really, really good hugger!  He is my anchor, and I can’t imagine going through this without him.

Bottom line … in spite of recent events, or perhaps because of them, life is good.  In fact, it’s arguably better than before.  And that’s something I never would have believed just two short months ago.

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